A/N: Happy Valentine's Day everyone!! :D I hope you're all stuffed full of chocolate and love today. I had this idea just before I drifted off to sleep last night, and I just knew I had to do it. So here it is. And it's dedicated to all of you!
Of course Yeoman Kelly Chambers was the sort of woman who celebrated Valentine's Day. This didn't come as a surprise to Shepard as she began finding little notes in her terminal leading up to the "big day." But she wasn't the only one. Everyone got them - some of the aliens on board responding differently to the idea than others. Shepard wasn't really the sort of woman to celebrate the holiday, having never really focused all that much on the sentiment behind it. It was nice, and she often had a glass of wine and lots of chocolate if she had the time, but she didn't openly seek out a partner before the fourteenth in order to not be alone.
She was glad Chambers was spreading the word. Everyone on board needed a little TLC.
The redhead was nearly bouncing as she made her way past the mess towards the main battery, package held behind her back. She wasn't sure what she was going to say, but she was fairly good at making things up on a whim. Her spirits were so high that she couldn't even have bothered worrying about what might happen. Passing her free hand over the access pad, she smiled as the door hissed open.
Garrus turned away from his desk and looked back at her, a look of surprise falling over his face. "Oh! Kelly, I -" A hand went to the small box on his desk, talons scuffling a little as he tried to push it out of sight.
"I brought you something!"
She beamed him a smile before offering him the box she was holding behind her back - a heart-shaped container she'd splurged on when they were last on the Citadel. It was shiny and metallic with a filmy red bow stuck right in the center. "I really hope you like them."
While her entrance had been surprising, her sudden shyness was even doubly so. He didn't think he'd ever seen her blush. "Thanks," he breathed, reaching out and taking the box. Hooking a talon beneath the cover, he lifted it up only to see six squares of assorted shapes and sizes. "Is this… chocolate? I can't -"
"I made sure it was safe!" she hurriedly replied, clasping her hands in front of her. "I got it from a turian shop in the Wards. I didn't know Valentine's Day was spreading around to all the other species' like that." But boy was she glad it was. Otherwise, she'd have been forced to find something for him other than chocolate. And it was when that happened that most people messed up. Plus, she wasn't a real poetry person.
"Well, I, uh," Garrus turned around, his gift still on hand. Shuffling around the data pads on his terminal, he finally relocated his own, smaller box. His mouth hinted at a smile when he saw the grin brighten Kelly's face. So she hadn't been expecting it. After all those times in the Mess, she really had no idea. "I got you this."
Kelly chuckled as she took it. It was all she could do to keep from giggling. "Thank you," she said, more than a little bashful as she opened it up. A brow quirked as her eye settled on… "A rock?"
Garrus cleared his throat, trying his best not to laugh at her reaction to the gift. "It's a… turian thing," he said, moving forward to remove the stone from the box. Out of the shadows of the box, she saw that it wasn't just a rock. It was a really pretty rock - almost glowing violet in the lighting of the main battery. He held it in his palm, turning it over to reveal what looked to be some sort of engraving. "The word here," he explained, tracing a talon over the etching, "It's the turian word for protection."
"Wow," she murmured, eyes wide as she stared at the rock. Without another word, she hopped onto her tip toes and wrapped her arms around his neck. Instinctively, Garrus curled his arms around her waist. She was so soft and delicate compared to the few women he'd held before. She was warm, too. "Happy Valentine's Day, Garrus."
Instead of responding in kind, he buried his nose in her hair and hugged a little bit tighter.
Chief Medical Officer Chakwas was already a glass and a half into her newest bottle of Serrice Ice Brandy when she heard the door to the Med Bay hiss open. Pushing her chair around to see who it was, she was surprised to see Mess Sergeant Gardner walking over. While it was certainly a surprise, she'd have to be a fool not to notice him sneaking looks at her through the window, all the way on the other side of the ship.
"Anything I can help you with, Gardner?" she asked, placing her glass on her desk. Of course she knew what day it was, but it wasn't like she was actively seeking anything out tonight besides her own state of happy, delicious drunkenness.
"Chambers said I should whip up something sweet for the big day," he commented, placing a plate of obnoxiously decorated cookies on her desk. "It's all I could do on such short notice. And I can't ice for shit."
Chakwas picked up one of the cookies - a lopsided heart with garish pink frosting - and took a bite out of it. While it wasn't the prettiest thing she'd ever eaten, it was tasty. Then again, with Shepard constantly supplying the Mess with everything it needed, she wasn't surprised at all. When she turned around to make a comment on the cookies, she saw that he was already making his way to the door. "Wait!" she called after him. Gardner turned around, a questioning look on his face. Lifting the bottle of brandy towards him, cookie still in her other hand, she smiled, "Do you want a glass?"
"Yeoman Chambers has notified me that you are without a significant other, Mr. Moreau."
Joker lifted an eyebrow at the blue globe beside his station. "No shit," he replied, turning back to the omni-board beneath his fingers. "What else has Yeoman Chambers got to say?"
"She suggested I be your Valentine."
Jack didn't like Valentine's Day. It was an entire day devoted to being attached to someone. Gifts, chocolate, lots of sloppy making out, topped off by your average run-of-the-mill finale sex. Just wasn't her idea of fun. So it wasn't by any surprise that she was sitting down in her little room beneath engineering, cleaning her shotgun, while everyone else was running around like idiots. It didn't take a genius to know exactly what was going on, even down here.
That nosy bitch Chambers had been sending her those ridiculous messages leading up to today. No doubt everyone else was getting them, too.
The biotic's eyes flew up to the stairs leading down into her space. "What do you want?" she shot at the quarian, who was making her way down each step with obvious wariness. "You're not here to ask me to be your goddamn Valentine, are you? 'Cause I'm not interested."
"No!" Tali was quick to respond, hurrying down the last few stairs, but stopping herself before she moved any closer. "I was just getting tired of running numbers up there… Everyone else is gone."
"You're bored." Jack set down her shotgun on the work table. "So you came to me."
Tali hesitated for a moment before taking a step forward. "Yes," she replied, sudden sureness in her tone. "I thought you wouldn't want to be alone, either. Kelly sent me a message telling me about today being a human holiday."
"It's not a human holiday," Jack corrected her, "It's just another day on the calendar."
"But can I stay?"
She looked towards the quarian, eyebrows knitting together above her nose. Some people just couldn't stand being alone. She didn't quite understand those people, but she knew they existed. Might as well try to be nice, like Shepard asked of her a few times. The woman saved her ass, might as well try to be civil. Hah, her. Civil.
Strip Skyllian Five was arguably the greatest game ever invented.
Ken didn't even try to hide his cheeky grin behind his cards. He had another good hand. It was like God and baby Jesus and his mum Mary were all looking down on him, smiling, urging him on with a chant of, 'Naked. Naaaaked.'
Okay, so he really hadn't expected to find himself playing Strip Skyllian Five with Gabby of all people, but he was three sheets to the wind and she did have a nice -
"Your go," Gabby interrupted his thoughts. She was concentrating as hard as she could on the cards to keep from looking up and getting another look at Ken's chest. Why did he have to lose the shirt first? Generally, she didn't make it a point to notice how fit he was, but it was difficult to deny the fact when it was staring her right in the face.
"Prepare to have your mind blown, Daniels!"
He didn't see Gabby's eyes widen at the phrase, or her cheeks go a vibrant shade of pink. He was too busy slamming his cards down on the table in a triumphant manner. "House of stars," he said in loud celebration. "Off with your trousers, woman!"
When she didn't eagerly strip off her pants, Ken glanced up from his cards, looking expectantly towards the woman in front of him. She set down her hand with a flourish, and he felt his heart sink down into his chest. "Full Five!"
The male engineer let out a string of colorful swears as he stood up. His hands went clumsily to the zipper of his pants and he had them off in a few minutes tops, leaving him in the form-fitting black boxer briefs acquisitioned to all Cerberus personnel and -
"You could've taken off your shoes."
At the full realization of what was going on, they both cracked up, their laughter filling the empty crew quarters.
"I don't care about your experiences, human," Grunt near-growled at the mercenary.
Zaeed didn't even seem bothered by the fact that his krogan "friend" was getting more and more annoyed the longer he went on. "Just because you're a damn virgin doesn't mean you can't enjoy," he mused, kicking his feet onto the table. "So, as I was saying…"
Grunt glared at him from across the table.
If Shepard had agreed to leave him off at Tuchanka, he'd make sure to celebrate this ridiculous human holiday the right way - quad deep. Instead, he was stuck here, listening to this ugly bastard recount his innumerous affairs as if they'd happened yesterday, not years and years prior. It was better than eating alone, but he still had to really fight the urge to bury his fork into the man's throat.
While Miranda enjoyed the idea of Valentine's Day, she was often too busy to celebrate it. Most perpetually single women bought themselves a little something indulgent - imported truffles from Earth, wine, something slinky and red just to feel a little sexier despite their status. But there was just so much work. She didn't have the time to even think about love, much less accept the fact that it was everywhere and get rip roaring drunk because of it.
She was working quietly at her terminal when she heard the door to her office slide open. She half-expected it to be Shepard, or even Kelly. The yeoman had been very persistent the past few days when it came to spreading the word.
To her surprise, her eyes settled upon Jacob, who was standing in the doorway, waiting to be allowed in. He wasn't in his uniform anymore, opting into a casual outfit of snug jeans and a dark, long-sleeved shirt.
"Do you need something, Jacob?"
She tried her best to sound professional, but it was difficult. He seemed to grow a little uneasy at her tone, but he took a step forward regardless. "I just wanted to wish you a happy Valentine's Day," he responded as the door closed behind him. "Wasn't really sure if you had someone lined up already." He gave a warm chuckle. "Never know with you."
"I'm not really the celebrating type," she said, though her mouth betrayed her with the small curve of a smile. Turning back to her terminal, she returned to her work as quickly as she'd been torn away from it. "But thank you, Jacob. Happy Valentine's Day to you, too."
Was that it? He'd gathered up all that confidence to come in here, after all this time, in hopes that she'd maybe remember what they had once… and she was kicking him out. There was no way he'd just accept that and move on. He deserved more than that. It'd taken him a long time to realize it, but he did. "I was hoping we'd be able to celebrate together."
Miranda looked up at him, her eyes full of something akin to surprise. She opened her mouth to say something only to close it and then open it again. "I… suppose we could."
Their eyes met, and a long moment passed between them. They shared so much history it was hard to remember what it'd been like to be apart. Or even together in a more intimate sense than just being on the same squad, fighting the same fight.
"I miss you, Miranda."
His voice filled her up. His words were so earnest. Jacob was a good man, an honest man. And though she knew he believed otherwise, he deserved a woman better than she was. He always had. Standing up from her desk, she moved around it almost clumsily, a far reach from the cool and collected operative he was used to.
Without so much as a murmured word of response, she curled her arms around his shoulders and pulled him close, her lips somehow finding his soft, familiar mouth - a sensation she'd nearly forgotten.
While Shepard wasn't the sort of woman to actively seek out a partner before Valentine's Day, she just so happened to have one this year.
She was standing in front of her desk, stroking the soft fur of her hamster, when said partner walked casually through the door. Even before she could see him, she saw the long, rectangular box in his arms. Drawing her hand out of the cage, she turned to see Thane standing directly in front of her with a hint of a smile curling at the corner of his mouth.
"What's this about?" Shepard asked, hand falling to her hip as she cocked her head to the side, looking him - and what she assumed was a gift - over.
"Miss Chambers had me under the impression that I should give you a gift," he replied, his usually serious tone lighter than she was used to. He stepped forward, offering her the box. It was light. So light that Shepard wondered for a moment if there was even anything in there. "She was also kind enough to give me a few suggestions."
Shepard felt something turn in her stomach. Oh God. What had Kelly suggested? Part of her already knew, but she was too wary about it to open the gift at that exact moment. Instead, she set it on her desk and bridged the gap between them. Her arms slid easily around his neck as she pressed herself flush against him. "Happy Valentine's Day," she murmured against his lips before placing upon them a long, lingering kiss.
When she drew just far enough away from him to look at her, he smiled. Not just a smirk, but an actual smile. "Happy Valentine's Day to you, too, siha," he said softly, smoothing her hair away from her face before pressing his forehead to hers. "Every day I am able to spend with you is a blessing."
There was a pull in the center of her chest. It was almost painful, but she dusted it off and instead focused on the man standing before her. "I feel the same way, Thane," she replied in an almost-whisper. What a winding road her life had been up to this point. It could've branched off in any direction from her childhood to now, sending her far away from the drell assassin in her arms, but it didn't. She was here, and so was he. And she loved him.
"Not that I wouldn't enjoy standing here for hours on end," he murmured, fingertips trailing along her cheek. "But I would like to see you open your gift."
Shepard chuckled. "Fine, fine, I'll open it." Stepping with obvious reluctance away from him, she turned her attention towards the box. It was red, closed with a silken white bow. Biting on her bottom lip, she untied the bow, letting it lull down onto the desk. When she removed the top of the box, her cheeks immediately flushed a deep red.
Lifting the garment - could it even be called a garment? - from the box, she held it up so she could see all of it. Of course it would barely be long enough to cover her ass. Of course you could almost see completely through it. Of course it was red and slinky. And now Thane was staring at her, waiting for some kind of reaction. Great.
"Uh," she began, every so eloquently, "Thank you." She wasn't a lingerie person. She wasn't even a dress person. How did Kelly even think this was a good idea? Oh God, maybe this wasn't a gift for her. It was a gift for Thane, purchased by Thane, hand-chosen by Thane, all orchestrated by the careful hand of Yeoman Chambers. She could tell that he wasn't completely satisfied with her reaction, and she tried really hard not to laugh. But her own embarrassment led to a chuckle, which quickly became a giggle that carried on for a few moments before she clamped her hand over her mouth. "I'm sorry," she quickly apologized. "I just wasn't… expecting… lingerie."
"Miss Chambers claimed it was a popular gift giving tradition from a man to a woman on this holiday." He was trying so hard to remain serious, but he was torn somewhere between solemnity, amusement, and utter lechery as his imagination slipped Shepard out of her casual clothes and into the silken red dress in her hands. He took a long stride forward, his hands going to Shepard's hips. He pulled her forward just enough so that they were touching. "The moment I saw it, I knew I had to see you in it."
Shepard opened her mouth to say something, but quickly shut it. Instead of protesting, she gave him a firm kiss on the mouth before disappearing into the en suite bathroom with the garment in tow.
He'd have to remember to send the yeoman a note of thanks.